AhhhhhhhhhhhIiiiiiiiii…I don’t know quite what to make of this.
Aidan Salt is an 18 year old boy with super powers. Powers can come about in different ways, and they can be really good (flight, strength, speed, etc) or they can be kind of useless and uninspiring (the ability to soak up water, for instance). Aidan has some pretty awesome power, but he’s not sure what he wants to do with it. Well … he is sure … he wants to use his power so that girls, one in particular, will adore him and have sex with him.
Aidan lives in a time when super villainy has been abolished. The super heroes have managed to keep the villains completely in check. Anyone trying to become a super villain is dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. And yet, Aidan would kind of like to go the villain route. He puts together a pretty cool costume, comes up with a cool name (Apex Strike), and most importantly, comes up with a cool catch phrase. And so off he goes to rob a simple store, just to test out how the villainy idea goes. But he doesn’t strike fear into the employees – in fact, they fight back – and when a D-list superhero shows up, Aidan begs for leniency. Unfortunately, the superhero has a bit of a sadistic streak and won’t stop punishing Aidan, so Aidan fights back. Hard. And the superhero is turned inside out.
Aidan tries to lay low and hide out, terrified that a squad of superheroes will come and blow him to smithereens. They do come, but not to destroy him, but to enlist him. The superheroes want to form a villain squad that will terrorize the people (but not too much) and fight the superheroes in scripted battles. Sometimes the villains will win, but mostly the heroes will win. Why? The people and the government who funds the heroes have forgotten what it really means to have heroic protectors. Once villainy was eradicated, complacency set in.
Apex Strike may become the most feared villain in the entire world, but Aidan Salt will pal around with the world’s greatest superhero, sharing drinks, sharing drugs, sharing women. It’s the best possible scenario Aidan could ask for.
Author Matt Carter really has a talent for building a story. The world-building here is fun. We get some of the history of super heroes and the history of the great super villains of the past. We also get a really wild, fun story with exciting characters, a well-built plot, and some fantastic action. This was easily a 4.5 or a 5.0 book.
To much of the book devolves into teen-boy sex fantasy. Seriously too much. Aidan’s entire motivation for 90% of the book is to get laid. Early on Aidan describes his motive:
Villainy, however, wasn’t my first idea.
At first, like every kid, I wanted to be a superhero. They got all the money and endorsements, and had their faces smeared across numerous posters (yeah, I had posters of El Capitan and The Gamemaster on my walls, so what?), and pussy . . . lots of it. If I was ever going to stand a chance at fame, fortune, and pussy, becoming a superhero was my best bet.
I was willing to overlook this as he went on and the story developed, but just when I thought this was completely behind us, we spend way too much time with Aidan the virgin having sex for the first time. And just like a teen boy’s fantasy, the girl initiates everything and he worries about everything (size, stamina, pleasing her) and of course he’s pretty much above perfect in every way. And later on, he’s sexually satisfying the hottest supermodels on the planet during his ‘off’ hours.
I really liked so much of this book. The plot twists were well done, the overall story arc was really fun to ride with, and most of the characters were pretty interesting and well fleshed out. But just a I would settle in to the book, Matt Carter would remind me that I wasn’t supposed to enjoy it too much, and he’d throw in some main character sex-obsessed fan-boy moment to bring the enjoyment level down a notch or two.
I really don’t know how to rate this book. The driving force of the main character to ‘get some pussy’ (his words, not mine) easily makes this a one star book. But take out the main character (and really, you could) and you have a fantastic world, plot, and exciting cast of characters that could easily make this a five star book. So sadly, it falls somewhere in between, where it will languish in obscurity. Which is probably where it belongs because really you can’t recommend this book and tell the reader to ignore a few moments. You have to ignore the main character to enjoy this book.
Looking for a good book? I really wish I could recommend Almost Infamous by Matt Carter, but I can’t. On one hand, a 2.5 star rating doesn’t reflect so much of the book, but on the other hand, 2.5 stars is very generous.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Matt Carter
paperback, 328 pages